Hauwa Part 3
Gloria was the first to sight madam come into the room. She took her hands from David immediately, and took a few steps away from him. Lydia stopped and took a long look at David and then back at Gloria. She had seen him move his head and hands without help.
Gloria had thought David would close his eyes, in pretence to be sleeping since he didn’t want madam to know of his recovery, but David was staring back at Madam; fury and hatred filled his eyes.
“What’s going on here?” Lydia asked, confused; she looked again from Gloria back to her husband. She knew something was definitely different in the room. David was sitting straight up, and not flapping around his hands.
Suddenly, David started to cough. Gloria moved quickly to the other table to get him a drink.
“No.” He commanded.
Gloria looked back at him. She wasn’t sure what he meant until she saw him started to move.
He pulled himself up, and carefully got down from his bed. He inhaled deeply, took his walking aide and walked to the table. He knew Lydia’s eyes were wide opened. She was mystified, and he felt triumph at every reaction. He took his time to pour himself a cup of water, and then walked back to the couch by his bed and sat down.
“David.” She whimpered, walked slowly to his side. “David.” She called out again; slowly brought her hands to his face. “Oh David.” She held him tightly in her embrace and started to cry.
“I knew you would come back to me,” she gulped a sob. “How did it happen, when?” How?” She looked at Gloria and then back to her husband and held him once again.
Gloria felt irritated at her the whole display. She couldn’t believe she was doing this; crying as if her husband had just come out of a coma but he’s been here all alone, lying helplessly in bed. For years, she’d never seen her spoken to him as if he was alive; he had been forgotten by the woman he loved and now, she’s wrapping herself all over him.
She swallowed the hard lump in her throat. Madam was still weeping and holding her husband in a tight embrace. Gloria decided to turn away to leave the room when she saw the intense gaze of David on her. He was looking straight at her. She took her face away quickly and walked out of the room. She wanted to run, but her feet wouldn’t let her. She closed the door, and leaned against it. She tried desperately to reduce the swelling emotion in her chest. She was breathing heavily; she held her hands against her chest, and closed her eyes. The feelings were there again; the ones that occasionally crept on her for a while now, but this time around, she had no control over it. It had a strong grip on her, and overwhelming her very soul.
She felt her heart pulling her back inside but she fought against it as tears threatened to flow out of her eyes. She felt something in her heart she’d never felt before; a raging emotion that took her whole body fiercely. His words kept ringing in her ears, I’m in love with you’. She felt her heart racing, and a strong desire to be with him. Suddenly, she realised what she was doing; what she was feeling right there did not feel right. Before she would tear her heart out there with the anger penetrating her, she walked quickly to her room; opened the door and found Hauwa pacing in the room.
“Aunty, what happened?” Hauwa asked fearfully, going to sit by her side.
Gloria looked into the thin air aimlessly.
“What happened?” Hauwa asked again.
“Nothing! Nothing happened.” Gloria snapped.
“What!” Hauwa gasped, confused. She had seen madam go into the room and the way Gloria came in now reaffirmed that something went wrong.
Gloria took her face away, trying to hide the emotion in her. Her plan was just to come in and drench her bed in tears, the unknown pain penetrating her was beyond words; she felt the sadness all over.
“I don’t understand.” She heard Hauwa’s voice.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know Hauwa!” She snapped again, which made Hauwa shudder.
Hauwa stared in disbelief; she couldn’t understand what was going on. “Is everything okay?”
Gloria looked up to her and then, the tears started to pour down her cheeks. Over the years, she had taken Hauwa like a sister and a friend, but carefully guarded her personal life away from their relationship. She had so many things she wished she could tell someone; just to listen to her. Now, she just want to cry herself out.
“Aunty, what’s wrong?” Hauwa asked again. She couldn’t bear to see her like this.
“I don’t know.” Gloria said in tears. “I really don’t know.” She wiped the tears from her cheeks, but they continued to pour down. “I’m feeling something I shouldn’t feel, something I have no right to think or even feel..,” She let her eyes settle on Hauwa for a moment, and saw she couldn’t understand what she was saying. “I feel something I shouldn’t feel, right here in my heart.” She placed her hands on her chest. “Is it wrong to feel this way, should I be feeling like this?” She saw more confusion on Hauwa’s face.
“I don’t understand aunty.” Hauwa was disconcerted.
“He said he loved me.” She looked straight into Hauwa’s eyes, stood up and walked towards the window. “He’s in love with me.” She whispered to herself.
“Who?” She asked.
“David…. Sorry, I mean Mr. Williams.”
Hauwa tried to hold back her gasp but did not quite succeed.
“Why would he say such a thing to me, why did he have to say it?” Gloria said to herself. “He can’t love me, he shouldn’t love me; I feel something I should not be feeling right here. What is wrong with me?” She shouted out.
She started to pace around the room. “This is not fair; you shouldn’t want something that you can’t have, you can’t just take something that does not belong to you, you just can’t. it doesn’t make any sense; he can’t have me so why would he tell me that he loves me when he knows damn right that he just cannot have me?” She kept rumbling her words together.
Hauwa went after her, and stood by her side. “Aunty, don’t do this to yourself.”
“He loves me Hauwa, Why would he say that, why?” She looked up in tears.
“What am I going to do?” She looked at Hauwa for answers.
She gently put her hand on her shoulder. “Don’t be too hard on yourself.” She said in a soothing voice; trying so hard to find the perfect words.
“But I cannot love him, I cannot!” Gloria interrupted.
“I know Aunty and I’m sure you will know what to do about this; you have to pray to God for wisdom. He will show you the way.” Hauwa said the only thing that came to mind.
Gloria looked at her confused. The fact that Hauwa mentioned God in her conversation surprised her.
Hauwa noticed the surprise look on Gloria’s face. “Don’t be surprised Aunty, I gave my life to God today, I accepted the truth; Jesus is the truth.” She smiled profoundly.
“What!” Gloria gasped.
“Mr. Emmanuel said something to me today; he opened my eyes to some truth and he prayed with me Aunty; everything is clearer now, I have a kind of peace that I cannot comprehend. I’m still trying to understand it.”
Gloria was fascinated as Hauwa went on about her encounter; she found her trying to explain deeply what she feels inside but couldn’t find the right word for it.
“My God!” Gloria laughed, almost in tears. She had spoken to Hauwa about God for many years, but she had always walked away. She always said she didn’t need God or any kind of God in her life.
“That’s great Hauwa!” She pulled her into her embrace. “I am so happy for you, praise God!” She smiled, but only lasted briefly. “I can’t believe what example of being a Christian I have shown today, God! I feel so ashamed.” She bowed her head in shame.
Hauwa carefully lifted her head up to look into her eyes. “I’ve only been a Christian for a few hours, but I still know we are all humans aunty; I really can’t tell you what to do about this but I pray God will guide you through your decision. One thing I have learnt today is the peace that comes with knowing God and I know you will have that peace when you make your decision.” She looked into her eyes in sympathy and assurance.
Gloria smiled and pulled her into her embrace again; she was grateful for what she said and also happy for her salvation.
The remaining hours of the day went so quickly; Gloria was still struggling with her thought. All her life, she’d never had anyone say those words to her. Her son was as a result of a reckless life as a teenager and since then, she’d withdrawn to herself while she concentrated on making a good living for her son and improve his health until his death. Love and marriage were two things she never explored, but these past few months, something had changed. First, it was the way David started to look at her, like looking right into her.
Other times, she had caught his intense gaze on her. It was the touch of his skin on her body when she held him or helped him with his workout. Then, she began to look forward to seeing him every morning and hear him improve on his speech. These things opened up something in her, a feeling she had securely hidden is trying to overpower her. But for him to openly say it to her face that he loved her was the height of it. She knew somewhere in her heart that she had began an unhealthy feeling towards him but never could think of having another woman’s husband all in the name of love. She believed there should be boundaries to such feelings and not even explore that area. She realized that the anger she felt at first was as a result of jealous, but now, she knew what to do about all these and prayed for strength from the Lord to do the right thing.
The next morning, Gloria avoided seeing David; she had intentionally sent Hauwa with his breakfast to his room.
Shortly after, Hauwa came back into the Kitchen.
“He asked me to call you.” Hauwa announced as she entered. She could also feel the tension when she went into his room, but pretended she knew nothing of it.
She looked back at Hauwa and dried her hands off the dishes she was washing. After all, he was still her boss and she knew she couldn’t avoid him forever; she took a last look at Hauwa who nodded at her and then walked out of the kitchen.
She inhaled as she stood right at his door, she knocked and went in; to her surprise, she found madam in the room. Gloria wasn’t sure if she had slept there, but seeing her in his room this early after so many years was quite shocking.
“Good morning sir.” Gloria greeted David. “Good morning ma.” She said to madam.
Madam flashed an angry look at her. “Yes, what are you doing here?” Madam asked angrily.
Gloria couldn’t understand her anger but again, she knew madam was always yelling and shouting at everyone, especially when she felt agitated or tensed up about something.
“I sent for her.” David said.
Madam looked at him, and quickly resolved the angry look on her face.
David smiled softly at her. “I was hoping we could start our work-out early today.” He said, looking at Gloria.
“Well, I can do that!” Madam spoke out, going to his side. “I can help you with your exercise while Gloria can help pack your things upstairs to our room.” She smiled at him, and walked to the chest drawers.
“What room?” David asked angrily.
“Our room of course.”
“I am in my room, where I belong, remember?” He straightened in his bed. “And as for helping with the exercise, I can manage with Gloria.” He countered.
“What!” Madam gasped, looking over to Gloria again with an angry look.
“After all, I have been managing without you for years now.” He said with his face fixed on Gloria.
Gloria was becoming uneasy about their conversation; she knew they both have issues they needed to sort out but was not about to be caught in the middle of it all. She noticed David spoke more fluently when he was angry as his stammering is lesser now.
“I can teach madam what to do sir.” She voiced out quickly to ease the tension in the room.
Madam and David looked at her direction.
“I can teach her what to do and all the routine.” She reaffirmed.
“No!” David snapped.
“But….” Madam was trying to say something.
“Lydia, what do you expect? That you can just walk back into my life and then, we start from where we left off, is it? He chuckled in disgust.
“I have been here all along David; I have been here with you.” Lydia cried brokenly.
He chuckled again. “Where?”He was amused at her words and then flashed the angry look at her again.
“I have been working so hard for this family, to put food on the table and to take care of our son, I had to make sure he has the life you desired for him and you had a business, remember? I had to take charge and work to make sure things does not fall.” She blinked back the tears.
“Then, go back to the business and other things you have to do, what exactly are you doing here?” David shouted at her.
“I am your wife David!” Lydia shouted in streams of tears pouring down her face.
Gloria stood there dumbfounded; the tension and anger in the room was beyond her so carefully, she walked towards the door and left the room. She wanted to keep walking but instead, she stood by the door to hear their conversation. She did never seen David talk in such manner, and for a second, she felt pity for madam.
David could not believe Lydia even had the gut to defend herself. He couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. She felt justified, and that infuriated him the more.
“Then where have you been for more than ten years that I have been lying here?” He shouted back at her, his eyes were moist.
“I have been right here with you, I have been taking care of our son, of our lives; I had to stand up and do something.” She continued in tears.
“Don’t you give me that. God!” He raged out. “Never would I have believed all you did Lydia, never; I loved you so much, I gave you everything and at the first opportunity you had to dump me, you took it and walked away from my life.” He said with pain in his voice.
“I did not leave you David, I did not.” She cried out. “I was confused; I didn’t know what to do about you; seeing you lying there broke my heart; please David,” she held his hands but he jerked away from her. “I love you so much and would never walk away from you.”She said in streams of tears.
“Stop it Lydia, stop it! What do you take me for? You left me to someone else to clean up after me, to take up your responsibility?” He cried out. “You know what, you can go back to whatever you have been doing, go back there.” He shouted. “I don’t need you here with me, go, go now.”He screamed out in pain with tears pouring down his face.
The anger in his voice jolted Gloria as she leaned against the door; quickly she took to her heels knowing madam would come out any time from now.
Hauwa has been home for a week now after taking a break from the hospital; things have been so tensed in the house lately. Madam being so sad, as her husband withdrew totally from her. She stayed in her room all through the day drenching her pillow with tears. Hauwa couldn’t understand all of these, but couldn’t imagine that a wife who abandoned her husband for so long especially when he needed her help and then comes back after so many years of walking away to say she is still in love with him. The irony of this is that, Mr. Williams cared less; he continued his daily activities without asking after her or even bothered to know how she was doing. After madam found out about his recovery, he’d been determined to work twice harder than before; a kind of anger and resolution in him to get better quickly was upon him.
Hauwa was on her way out to the market one day; opening the front gate, she found a familiar face waiting by a car. She was taken aback to see her eldest brother, Idris, standing there. She ran to him quickly and hugged him. He later related the whole story to her.
He had gone home a few months ago to see their parent after so many years and then found out his father had passed away few months before then due to illness. He was sad and ashamed of himself for leaving his family for that long. He had left home with the intention of working hard to provide for his family but stayed too long and forgot about them. He later found courage to go home and face up to his responsibility but realized it was rather late as his father had suffered a terrible sickness and due to lack of funds had led to his death.
After inquiring about Hauwa; he was told mallam Abu had come to take her away after finding a job for her in Lagos and promised to pay them her monthly salary which they never received. Mallam Abu had suddenly disappeared and didn’t come back to Nassarawa. Idris was so furious when he learnt about this especially the fact that Hauwa happened to be his biological daughter which was unknown to her. He was given a wife years ago who had died during child birth, so his parents took Hauwa as their own daughter while he went away to work and promised to return. He had only gone home twice after but never introduced himself as her real father.
Now, much older and realizing how he forgot his family and his responsibilities; he discovered his daughter was off to some job in Lagos and had not returned home since then. He came to Lagos in search for Mallam Abu and few weeks later, he got hold of him and after he brutally gave him the beating of his life for scamming his parents, Mallam Abu gave up her address.
Hauwa was shocked to hear all these; she never knew for once that her eldest brother is her real father, of which difference it wouldn’t have made to her then. All her life, she’d learnt to find her own way and not depend on anyone; altogether, she wasn’t sure what this new revelation will make for her. Also, the death of a man she had known to be her father brought sadness to her; he had been a good man to her even though he had no money to take care of her as he would have loved to, but he was still her father.
She sat there in his car and spoke at length with him. Hauwa had planned to go home a year after she got to Lagos but the fear of being married off as they did her elder sisters scared her. Idris asked for her forgiveness and was ready to take her home right there, but she refused and promised to come see them all soon.
It’s been few weeks since the whole episode with David and Lydia; Gloria tried as much as possible to avoid the couple; after almost a week of madam crying her eyes out and her husband was not yielding to her, she went back to her old ways; goes out in the morning and comes home late at night. Hauwa had been so nice working with him and also checking up on him when necessary.
One day, she was washing dishes in the kitchen when she saw David walked in.
“What!” she gasped in disbelief, since this was the first time David would climb the basement stairs to come upstairs.
“Hi!” David said, shyly impressed by his work-out. “I thought since you refused to come to me, I could as well come to you.” He smiled.
Gloria forced a smile, impressed by his work-out. “You need to come out more often.” She dried her wet hands on a towel. David walked straight to her and stood right in front of her staring in to her eyes.
“I know you are avoiding me Gloria, and that hurts.”
Gloria felt her heart pounding so fast, the feeling was intense; she moved away from him to occupy her hands with the dishes, putting them away.
“I have missed you Gloria, I missed you coming to my room.” He walked towards the fridge and helped himself with a glass of water.
Gloria found something else to do, trying to hide her trembling hands.
“Gloria!” He called out which brought her to a halt. “Look at me please.”
Gloria turned to him.
“I love you Gloria, I am in love with you; every day for these past few years, I have always waited anxiously to see you early in the morning. I tried ignoring the feelings for a while but I just can’t anymore…”
Gloria looked into his eyes for a moment and took a step closer to him.
“It’s only natural what you feel for me considering how many years I have been helping out.” Gloria said softly.
“I know what I feel right here.” David placed his hands on his chest.
“Your heart belongs to someone else David.” She paused for a moment.
“You and I know there’s nothing there for me with her; we both know this.” He allowed his words settle on her.
“She is still your wife and part of you still loves her.” She retorted.
“There is no more love between us; our love died a long time ago. What is left of us are hurt, pain and betrayal.” He said, dejected.
Gloria could see he was talking straight from his heart; she sees a man hurting, a man seeking for love in his life, someone to love and take him as he is.
“You know, my mom told me a long time ago that love never dies a natural death; it dies because we don’t know how to replenish it. It dies of hurt, errors and betrayal; the fact that you don’t feel something in here,” She placed her hands gently on his chest. “doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
“Maybe your mum is wrong this time.” David said as he held her hands on his chest. “Maybe our love never existed to start with, maybe there’s nothing to water and it’s damaged beyond repair.” He countered.
“Or maybe you just don’t want to fight for it.” She said, and walked out of the kitchen.
Gloria knew the fight going on in heart and was not about to be left alone with him there. She knew what her flesh wanted; another minute alone with him might lead to something she would regret. Also, she understood the couple do have issues to sort out and she was not about to be a reason why David would not fight for his marriage. She just wanted him to think about things without putting her in the equation. There must have been something he loved about his wife when he first met her and his willingness to go back to the beginning of their love and relationship might help to revive things.
Gloria had gone to the living room with an intention of cleaning up when the Programme on the TV caught her attention: it was an annual African fashion exhibit where designers would show off their designs. She was intrigued by every outfit and their design since she also had a passion for African styles. The fear of being rejected had held her back all this while to fulfil her long term dream and hopes. One of these days, she was hoping to work through her fear.
“So you think you can do better than me?”Lydia said, standing behind her.
The sound of her voice startled Gloria; she had not seen or heard her come in.
“Don’t you dare madam me! We both know what you are up to.” She looked angrily at her.
Gloria was taken by surprise, she was unsure of what she was getting at.
“I took you into my house, I gave you a job when you needed it most and you stabbed me in the back.” She shouted at her.
“I beg your pardon!” Gloria snapped at her. “I have served you well; did everything you asked of me and will not stand here for you to lure insults at me.” She looked her straight in the eyes. “I was the one, who took care of your business, you should be grateful.”
Lydia gasped. She had been taken by surprise at the way she spoke back at her. “I never knew you had it inside of you.” She jeered at her. “Why don’t you go ahead and take what is left of him.”
Gloria felt like shaking her up until she was back to her senses. “You should be grateful you have a man like him.” She said angrily at her.
“Is that why you want him for yourself?”
Gloria was fuming in anger, and trying so hard to control herself.. “I don’t want your husband. “God! “You should go back and beg him for all you did. You left him, do you understand how that hurts?” She searched to see some form of remorse in her eyes but it was blank of any. “You need to ask your husband for forgiveness.”
“That’s where you are mistaken; I don’t beg. If he cannot accept me for who I am and appreciate all that I have done for him, then he’s not worth it.”
“Exactly what have you done?” Gloria asked in anger; repulsed by her attitude.
“I had a son for him, I gave him the best part of my life while he was wasting away in bed, and I took up the responsibility of taking care of his son all by myself.” She shouted back.
“The same son you took away from him; the same son you deprived him of and made him look like a curse to be seen with him?
“I will not have you insult me in my home!” Lydia shouted.
She scoffed. “Insult you.” She straightened. “I would not waste my breath on that. If indeed you really want a home, then, I suggest you start making it a one.” Gloria countered.
“Fine! You want to have him; you can have all of him.” She stood there for a few seconds and, then, walked away.
Shortly after, she was back with her bags pulling it through the living room. Gloria stood there bewildered; she watched as she went back for more and more bags. t first, she wasn’t sure if she was leaving for her usual trips or actually leaving the house. She watched as she went back in to carry her handbag but instead of walking towards the door, she came up to her.
“Here, you can give it to him when he returns.” She handed her a letter and walked out of the hourse.
Gloria shocked and confused; this is the same woman who had cried for joy when she found out about his recovery. She sat there for several minutes unable to move. Mr. Williams had gone to his doctor for check-up but the fear of her delivering this letter scared her. She waited there until she heard the door open. There, Hauwa and David walked in. Gloria stood up quickly.
“Is everything alright?” It was David who asked.
Gloria took the letter from the table, and gave it to him.
“What is this?” The tension on Gloria’s face made him open the letter.
I have tried to stay hoping things will change but it is evident that there’s nothing between us and staying in this house is of no use to you. I have to leave David; I have to leave to find myself. Please forgive me.
David dropped the letter on the floor and walked quietly to his room without uttering any word. His heart was heavy and dejected; he had thought he would feel a kind of happiness knowing Lydia was no longer in his life, but far from it; all he felt was pure emptiness. A feeling he couldn’t explain overwhelmed him. He had thought he lost everything during his illness but even after his recovery, he was losing it all over again. The woman he is in love with would not accept him into her life, and the one he once loved has just walked away from his life. He felt alone.
Hauwa was in the laundry room doing some washing when Gloria walked in. She stood at the door for several minutes watching Hauwa. For days, she’d been trying to come to terms with her decision, but telling Hauwa was the most she dreaded. She had decided she needed to leave; She couldn’t stay any longer in the house with the feelings penetrating her spin, and David believing that she was the right woman for him. She decided it was time she moved on.
“I am leaving.” Gloria spoke out.
Hauwa jolted. “What.”
“I am leaving Hauwa, I’m going away.” She tried to fight the tears bunching in her eyes.
“Going where?” She was still standing where she was; confused.
Gloria walked up to her, took her hands, “I have to go Hauwa,” tears poured down her cheeks. “This passion, feeling, emotion or whatever it is called is killing me inside; I have fought and fought so hard to get over it but I can’t. I can’t Hauwa.” She swallowed hard, and blinked back tears, “I love him but I can’t be with him.” Her face filled with sadness.
Just then, Hauwa pulled her into her embrace.
“Oh Aunty.” She held her tightly.
She tried to fight the tears. “It’s going to be okay aunty; everything is going to be okay. Hauwa softly patted her back.
“I can’t bear to see him in pain and I can’t give him what he wants; I wish I could but I can’t” She continued in tears. “Something in my heart is holding me back.” She wiped off the tears and looked into Hauwa’s eyes.
Hauwa wept weepily. She wanted to say something but her lips trembled. Over the years, Gloria had been the closet she has to a family. She couldn’t imagine what her life would had been with her, and losing her now is like a sharp pain to the heart.
“You do understand that I have to leave, I have to find my own way.” She gently wiped the tears away from Hauwa’s eyes. Then, she smiled softly. “Oh Hauwa, you have been such a blessing to me right from the very day you walked into this house; you changed me; you made me believe in myself with your relentless attitude.” She laughed. “You had a purpose, a vision and nothing stood in the way of achieving that; you wanted to do something you loved and against all odds, you did it, you did it girl and I am so proud of you.”
Her face lilted up. “Aunty, you are a God-sent to me; you gave me a reason to go on. Can you remember the first thing you said to me when I stepped into this house? Don’t be afraid, she said.”
“I didn’t need to say that seeing how you pointed a broken glass at Edward when he trespassed, you were fearless.” She busted into laughter even with the tears in her eyes. Hauwa joined her in laughter.
Then, they stopped and stayed quiet for a while.
“Aunty, you know, when you are troubled about decisions in your heart, the best thing to do is to stay back in His presence,” She took her hands and looked straight into her eyes. “He will teach you and direct you in the path to go, hold on tight Aunty, just hold on. Then, she hugged her tightly.
Twenty minutes later, Gloria was gone. The only woman who took her in at the lowest point in her life; the same woman who fought for her and made her believe in herself was gone. A Part of her felt sad at this but another part knew Gloria had to go to find herself, to fulfil her own dreams. She had worked hard all her life, lived through pain and hurt of loosing her only child but now is the time to go forth and be happy. A happiness that only God could give her .
Hauwa inhaled deeply; instead of going back to her washing, she sat there on the steps flashing back to old times with Aunty Gloria. She was her angel.
To be continued.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com